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Texas Lawyer Charged in Bribery Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 24, 2011
  • Northern District of Ohio (216) 622-3600

A criminal information charging Bryan Cartall, age 61, of San Antonio, Texas, with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in federally funded programs was filed today, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

“We are committed to prosecuting all those involved in labor corruption, whether they are the self-dealing union official or a licensed attorney seeking union business,” Dettelbach said.

The information charges that Cartall, a San Antonio plaintiff’s personal injury attorney specializing in representing injured railroad workers, paid a bribe to Thomas E. Miller, who served as a special representative of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (“BLET”) and Edward W. Rodzwicz, who served as national president and first vice president of the BLET, which is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

In order to facilitate the retention of qualified and experienced FELA attorneys by its injured members, the BLET maintains a list of designated attorneys who are held out to its members as competent and professional FELA attorneys. The members of this list are referred to as Designated Legal Counsel (“DLC”) attorneys.

Designation status on the DLC list provides a FELA attorney with valuable access to BLET members as potential clients, and to local BLET officials as sources of information and referrals concerning accidents and workers. The BLET affirmatively recommends the DLC attorneys to its members for FELA-related and other business. As national president and first vice president, Rodzwicz had authority over the designation status of DLC attorneys.

The information states that from in or about late 2001, and continuing until in or late 2009, Cartall conspired with McKinney and Rodzwicz to unjustly enrich Edward W. Rodzwicz and Thomas E. Miller by giving a cash bribe in exchange for placing and maintaining Cartall on the DLC list for BLET workers and to have BLET workers directed to his firm. Cartall received attorney’s fees as part of settlement payments in injured railroad worker cases.

The information states that the conspirators accomplished this by meeting in an airport parking lot where Cartall delivered a large cash payment to Miller. Edward W. Rodzwicz and Miller would then split the cash payments, according to the information.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin J. Roberts, following an investigation by the Cleveland offices of the U.S. Department of Labor, OIG Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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